EAST WEST Banking Corp. (EastWest Bank) is set to offer P10 billion in peso-denominated bonds to raise fresh funds.

In a disclosure to the local bourse on Thursday, the Gotianun-led lender said its board of directors approved the lender’s issuance of up to P10 billion in bonds to be issued in one or more tranches.

EastWest Bank added that the timing of the issuance will be subject to market conditions.

Banks can now raise fresh funds through corporate bonds after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last year relaxed its rules by doing away with having to secure approval from them.

UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. recently raised P5.8 billion in three-year fixed-rate bonds, fetching a coupon of six percent to be paid quarterly until May 2022.

BDO Unibank, Inc., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. and Philippine National Bank have also issued peso-denominated bonds recently to diversify funding sources.

The lender did not respond to a request for additional details regarding the bond issuance as of press time.

In June 2018, the bank raised P2.45 billion from the first tranche of its P15-billion long-term negotiable certificates of deposit program.

The 5.5-year notes carry an interest rate of 4.625% to be paid quarterly until December 2023.

EastWest Bank posted a net income of P1.3 billion in the first three months of the year, up 36% from the same period a year ago, driven by improved trading income, lower credit costs and the resumption of the teachers’ lending program of the bank’s rural banking arm.

EastWest Bank said consumer lending, which made up 71% of its loan portfolio, grew by 10% to P177.5 billion in the first three months from P161.3 billion last year. Corporate or middle-market business loans also increased by 19% to P71.6 billion from P60.2 billion in the same period a year ago.

As of March 31, EastWest Bank had a total of 390 stores. Its total automated teller machine network was at 584. Meanwhile, the bank’s subsidiaries have a total of 76 stores.

EastWest Bank’s shares were at P11.44 apiece on Thursday, down two centavos or 0.17%. — KANV